Are you a Global Exchange supporter? Yes? Well then, you are pretty incredible, it’s true.

Throughout our near-25 years we’ve been proud to share the esteemed company of thousands of passionate, bold, and dedicated people, like you.

Your volunteering, your steady contributions, your protesting (at home and on the streets), your consideration for socially responsible travel, your Fair Trade shopping and your faith in justice – all of these actions mean the difference between dreaming a better world for people and the planet and actually making it happen.

To express our gratitude, some Global Exchange staff members gathered together recently to come up with a way to thank the people who make all of our work possible. 

The result is this short n sweet video filled with messages of thanks that come from the bottom of our hearts. We hope you enjoy it! (Oh, and keep an eye out for Abad’s cameo – Global Exchange’s friendly Labrador – who got caught with his tongue out!)

Does the gratitude train stop here?

Not at all!

This week, we’re also sharing stories of a few (five, to be exact) of the amazing individuals, like you, who make our work possible:

  • Matt Ramsden, member and supporter, who keeps buying prize drawing tickets even though he has not won yet, all to support the work he cares about.
  • Jenny White, superstar volunteer, chocolate lover, and scourge to corporate lobbyists.
  • Jennifer Carino, former employee turned Global Exchange Monthly Supporter.
  • Lea Murray, took a Reality Tour to Venezuela and came home inspired to share what she’d seen.
  • and Lyla Seo, puts her values first when she shops Fair Trade at our San Francisco store.

There you have it, two different mediums, one important message, to say:

Thank you.

P.S. If you want to see all of the thank you pictures from the video (plus a few extras!), you can check them out at your leisure on our Facebook page.

Carleen and Mom Helen (front left) meet with teachers in Afghanistan

Today marks the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, first celebrated in Germany, Austria, Denmark and Switzerland in 1911, to recognize the social, political and economic achievements of women in the past and present.

The self titled “Global hub of International Women’s Day events and information” lists thousands of events around the planet, 200 in the US alone, to celebrate and honor the achievements and struggles of women around the world.

I first felt the importance and solidarity of celebrating International Women’s Day while visiting Afghanistan with my mother on a Women Making Change Global Exchange Reality Tour in 2005. For 10 days we traveled in and around Kabul, visiting schools for girls, women’s organizations, women’s small business cooperatives and councils, doctors active in female health educations, advocacy organizations and government agencies working to protect women’s rights in Afghanistan after the Taliban rule.

At that time in Afghanistan, there was a feeling of hope and genuine sense that progress was being among those we met with. It was a truly unique experience to share International Women’s Day with incredible mothers, daughters, grandmothers, leaders and heroines. Stories of enormous personal tragedy were shared with emotion and outrage, but often with a sense of courage and struggle within the movement for global women’s rights. It was also an incredible gift to share this experience with a woman who inspires me every day, my mother.

Annually at Global Exchange, we celebrate the achievements of international and domestic human rights leaders and honor those effecting social justice in the world at a Human Rights Awards event. Today, as we prepare for the 2011 Human Rights Awards on June 1, we reflect on some past women honorees:

  • Mu Sochua MP, a Parliamentarian of the opposition party Sam Rainsy Party, Sochua has fought tirelessly for human rights and women’s rights in Cambodia.
  • Samina Faheem Sundas, who founded American Muslim Voice in response to the fear and hatred expressed toward Muslims in the wake of 9/11.
  • Alice Walker– Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, poet, teacher and activist, is internationally acclaimed for her vivid depictions of black women’s struggles against sexism, racism and poverty.
  • Cindy Sheehan and Gold Star Families for Peace– Channeling their grief into action, Cindy Sheehan and Gold Star Families for Peace have galvanized the anti-war movement, demanding answers from Bush about the legitimacy of the war.
  • Diane Wilson – Texas shrimper who founded unReasonable Women and has fought for peace and environmental justice
  • Kathy Kelly – Founder of Voices in the Wilderness, which sought to end the Iraq embargo and save Iraqi children.
  • Arundhati Roy – Author and outspoken peace activist from India.
  • Barbara Lee – Courageous congresswoman who voted against the war in Afghanistan.
  • Bianca Jagger – Long time peace activist who travels widely to shine a light on unjust conditions.
  • Claudia Smith – Founder of California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, she is a tireless advocate for immigrants at the border between the US and Mexico
  • Digna Ochoa y Placido -– was a human rights attorney who gave her life defending peasant farmers in Mexico.

I’ve always been skeptical about annual ‘one day’ celebrations, but after my Reality Tour experience in Afghanistan, I started taking time each International Women’s Day to acknowledge women past and present who work to ensure that women live better lives. History is important.

Make a mark today and nominate your human rights hero to Global Exchange’s 2011 People Choice Award. Nominations are open and details are here. Winners will be announced at the Human Rights Awards on June 1.

To celebrate International Women’s Day, I’ll be joining others at 4:30pm at 16th and Mission Street in San Francisco  today on a march to End Poverty, Criminalization, War and Occupation.

What are you doing to celebrate International Women’s Day? Feel free to share your plans and experiences in the Comments section.

To bread and roses, take action and Happy International Women’s Day!